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  1. #1 China's motorbikes designed in tandem 
    C-Moto Guru Supersignet's Avatar
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    DON TAPSCOTT AND ANTHONY D. WILLIAMS

    When it comes to motorcycles, China is king of the industry.

    Motorcycle production has tripled to more than 15 million from five million vehicles a year since the mid-1990s. That's about 50 per cent of the global pie, making China the world's leader.

    Meanwhile, the price of Chinese motorcycles built for the rapidly expanding Asian export market has dropped to $200 (U.S.) on average from $700. Not surprisingly, Chinese firms such as Lifan, Zongshen, and Jialing are now displacing well-known Japanese competitors such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha as the vehicle providers of choice.

    In the rise of a fledgling motorcycle industry, numbers only tell half the story.

    STATISTICAL TRENDS
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    The characteristics that make the Chinese motorcycle industry competitive also make for a particularly fascinating tale of how mass collaboration has the potential to reshape even the most stodgy manufacturing firms.

    Unlike traditional manufacturing industries, where tightly regimented production hierarchies spit out end products under the command of a single leader, the Chinese motorcycle industry consists of hundreds of different companies that collaborate on motorcycle design and manufacturing.

    While assemblers typically set out rough blueprints, suppliers of closely related components (like the frame and fairings) work in tandem to design and deliver complete subassemblies to final assemblers in tight intervals.

    Decentralization allows for rapid iterations, experimentation and informal networking among adjacent suppliers, while assemblers integrate components and subsystems into finished products without having to impose much direction. If production problems arise, managers go to teahouses to iron out solutions, swap market intelligence, and co-ordinate ideas for future product designs.

    The bottom line is that Chinese firms design and build new motorcycles faster and less expensively than conventional industry supply chains. The approach has been so successful that Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, once dominant throughout Asia, have lost 40 per cent of their market share in the past 10 years.

    The rise of highly collaborative ecosystems for designing and building physical things is not unique to China or the motorcycle industry in particular. Collaborative processes are emerging in industries where intellectual property is widely dispersed and production capacity is fragmented among hundreds of specialized firms.

    Increasingly, lead producers in fields such as semiconductors, computers, cars, clothing and bicycles are responsible mainly for product concepts and marketing. They outsource manufacturing and many, if not all, aspects of component design. And they rely on a global plant floor consisting of hundreds of firms to assemble finished products.

    Mass collaboration is the future of manufacturing, even for the most complicated product we can think of -- the new generation jumbo aircraft. Boeing is leading the way with its Boeing 787 Dreamliner by replacing its entire modus operandi with mind-boggling global collaborations.

    Today's modern aircraft consist of tens of thousands of high-tech parts sourced from hundreds of specialized suppliers. In the past, companies like Boeing wrote detailed specifications for each part and asked suppliers to build to plan. Boeing gathered the parts on the plant floor and spent weeks assembling a single airplane.

    Today, Boeing and its suppliers co-design airplanes from scratch and deliver complete subassemblies to Boeing's factory, where a single plane can be snapped together like Lego blocks in as little as three days. The design is co-innovated with its partners globally. Companies such as Spirit AeroSystems, owned primarily by Toronto-based Onex, are not just suppliers to Boeing -- they are more like peers collaborating with Boeing.

    Like other leading manufacturers, Boeing is taking historic strides toward a new model of the corporation -- a truly global firm that breaks down national silos, deploys resources and capabilities globally, and harnesses the power of human capital across borders and organizational boundaries. For the firms in charge of co-ordinating these sprawling webs of value creation, innovation is less about inventing and building physical things and more about orchestrating good ideas.

    The upshot is that, while Airbus is embroiled in difficulties, with some suggesting its new generation aircraft may never come to market, Boeing is now the darling of the industry.

    Because mass collaboration applies to the world of atoms, not just the world of bits, manufacturers in other industries around the world need to rethink their business models. How will global plant floors and collaborative manufacturing techniques play out in markets such as health care, diesel earth-moving equipment, or construction? Use your imagination. As Boeing shows, the sky's the limit.

    Don Tapscott is CEO of New Paradigm, a technology and business think tank, and the author of 10 books about information technology in business and society, including Paradigm Shift, Growing Up Digital.

    source: globe and mail
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  2. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supersignet View Post
    "The bottom line is that Chinese firms design and build new motorcycles faster and less expensively than conventional industry supply chains."
    What is he smoking? Design new motorcycles? Nearly all Chinese motorcycles and scooters are knockoffs of older Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese designs.

    Quicker and less expensive to reverse engineer a competitor's product than do your own unique R&D? Uh, yeah. Impressive new business model? Uh, no.

    PJ
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    C-Moto Guru Supersignet's Avatar
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    Most companies in the world reverse engineer products and change them just enough so as not to infringe on patents. I do agree that China is probably the worst place in the world for protection of intellectual property, but some motorcycle manufacturers are improving and starting to engineer their own products.

    Shineray for example is creating a new line of bikes of their own design. Of course the engines are still Honda based and the frames are KTM inspired, but it is a step in the right direction.
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    Last edited by DILLIGAF; 05-07-2008 at 03:10 PM.
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    C-Moto Guru Supersignet's Avatar
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    Some of it maybe old, but a lot of people have still never read it or even know it is out there.
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    Last edited by DILLIGAF; 05-07-2008 at 03:03 PM.
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supersignet View Post
    Most companies in the world reverse engineer products and change them just enough so as not to infringe on patents.
    Oh yeah. Did you know Yamaha got their start in motorcycles by building a copy of the pre-war German DKW RT125? Way back in 1903 Harley-Davidson's first engine was a copy of a French design. Today, American companies like S&S and Revtech make big bucks building close copies of Harley Evolution big twin engines.

    Shineray for example is creating a new line of bikes of their own design. Of course the engines are still Honda based and the frames are KTM inspired, but it is a step in the right direction.
    Yep, and Lifan, Zongshen and others are stepping out with more and more original design work, too. But Lifan, Shineray and Zongshen aren't decentralized colaborations (the point of the article) - they're traditional organized, large, vertically integrated manufacturing firms that can afford true R&D.

    Best,
    PJ
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  8. #8  
    Administrator-tron CrazyCarl's Avatar
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    Oi! It's all about convenience mate. Tryin' to get the ol' fire a burnin' there, know what I meanz? Give it some time, likely things may change.

    SupuhG'Day,
    CC


    Quote Originally Posted by DILLIGAF View Post
    G'Day,

    it's not really rocket science.....

    go to http://www.google.com & http://news.google.com
    type China motorcycle or China motorbike... voila!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresterJohn View Post
    Oh yeah. Did you know Yamaha got their start in motorcycles by building a copy ... vertically integrated manufacturing firms that can afford true R&D.
    PJ
    It's hard to tell what they can an can not afford. True they have some money but not all of them are making money. The international arena is getting more competitive and their home market is shrinking thanks to unfavorable regulatory mandates. The big companies with the deeper pockets have an easier time but lots of them (like Shineray, QingQi and others) aren't as big as Lifan. I'm sure all of them have made some expensive mistakes along the way.

    The biggest problem with these companies now is none of them have done anything really "NEW". To the victor goes the spoils...

    CC
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    Last edited by DILLIGAF; 05-07-2008 at 03:03 PM.
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